A lot has been happening at Belmore, with Phil Gould on board and now joined by Willie Mason. Before a ball has been kicked or a tackle made in 2022, little things have impressed me.
The club’s website has produced a number of interviews with the new talent and the way the players present themselves and their aspirations for the future is a great insight to the team culture.
One example is Brent Naden’s eyes lighting up when, on his first day in the area, every supporter in the area knew who he was – nice way to make a newbie welcome.
Guys like Matt Dufty, Josh Addo-Carr, Max King and Paul Vaughan seem to have a belief in their future, as well as the club’s. I got the impression that they just spoke honestly and openly.
What was equally important was their wanting to be part of the club as a whole. A number of them have been pleasantly surprised by their welcome to the club, not just by players and staff but also by the community.
I get the impression there is a steely-eyed determination by everyone in the playing group to vastly improve on past performances.
Naden’s comment that there is not a ‘chiefs and indians’ culture at the Bulldogs, that everyone – even at this early stage – feels free to have their say is a great start to building a team.
King spoke about his early memories of the Dogs and now the man himself is there, how must it make this young fella feel to have ‘Big Willie’ at the club?
Young players are not talking about just their possible individual debut, but to make the debut for the club. I like the vibe.
Let us hope to see the rise of the likes of Josh Cook, Paul Alamoti, Matt Doorey and Jackson Topine, the youngsters combining with the old, hard heads to lead the Dogs back into a place where we are once again respected on and off the field.